Judging a book by its cover: the unconscious influence of pupil size on consumer choice

Richard Wiseman, Caroline Watt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


Past research suggests that men perceive women with large pupils as especially attractive. We employed an innovative methodology to examine whether this effect influences consumer decision-making. A popular psychology book was published with two slightly different front covers. Both covers contained the same photograph of a woman; however, the woman's pupils on one cover were digitally enlarged. Readers indicated whether they were male or female, and whether they possessed the cover with small or large pupils. A significantly greater percentage of men than women had chosen the cover with the large pupils. None of the participants who attempted to guess the nature of the experiment was correct, suggesting that the influence exerted by pupil size was unconscious. These findings provide further support for the notion that people's judgments are unconsciously swayed by pupil size, and demonstrate that this effect operates in a real world setting.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1417-1419
Number of pages3
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 2010


Dive into the research topics of 'Judging a book by its cover: the unconscious influence of pupil size on consumer choice'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this